Life might be busy and vibrant with its usual ups and downs but how does our world feel from the inside? Maybe a little grey and lifeless? Are there emotions that we have been avoiding? Can we simply be in touch with how we feel?
Prince Harry has set a fine example this week by speaking out on how he suppressed his emotions about the death of his mother. Years passed as he carried on with his partying, working and living a life full of advantages. Yet bubbling under the surface was his sadness, anger and a whole range of human emotions which are a normal response to a young person-or indeed any person- grieving the death of their mother, mourning their loss. Unacknowledged feelings often burst out unexpectedly, or slowly turn in on themselves lowering our mood and leading to anxiety and depression. Harry was wise enough to seek counselling and really benefited from allowing himself to feel what he had suppressed.
Allowing and feeling emotions in our body encourages them to move through us in a healthy way. Sometimes we need to tell our story in the presence of a trained person or a good friend, but other times we can tentatively feel them and gently observe them in our body as they change form and intensity.
It’s not just about dealing with the big challenges, we can apply this to our day to day experiences.
We can develop this skill as part of our Mindfulness practice, as we learn to be present, without judging our experiences or resisting what is actually happening in this moment. Being with our feelings we may discover a sense of relief, awakening us from numbness and leading to being more real, authentic and alive.
Healthy psychological development is supported by both letting our feelings be and letting in positive experiences, like love, beauty, gratitude. Noticing what is around us can nourish us by taking it in.
I was reminded recently that I could pay more attention to beauty. The riot of spring colour, the first bluebells appearing in the woods, the early morning sunshine, the warm hug of a dear friend, the softness of my fluffy dog, the deliciousness of being submerged in an epsom salts bath laced with rose oil. Can I let it linger long enough to feel how it creates a resonance in my body? If there’s a pleasurable feeling can I let it grow within me and fire up neural pathways of pleasure and happiness?
Can you sow the seeds of your aliveness?